There are many things that traditional camps hold in common. Things like traditional activities — canoeing, or archery, or art and crafts.
And there are other very camp things too, like Reveille and Taps, dinner bells, and color teams.
This is one of the fun things about camps that makes it a real bonding experience when fellow camp professionals get together to discuss those long-enduring elements of the camp experience.
But then there are aspects that are totally unique to each camp, the private traditions, in-jokes, special events, homemade habits, and other “just us” camp-time traditions that sets each camp apart.
And for us, among other things, there are our end-of-term awards, almost always made in honor of a distinct individual who spent time at camp — or made a mark on camp — in a way no one else has.
I thought how wonderful it would be if we did a blog series on these one-of-a-kind awards so that we could plunge into our own camp history together, learning again about the people whose contributions and presence at camp lead to the establishment of an award.
So if you follow the blog in the future, you’ll see from time-to-time a blog post that delves into the behind-the-scenes story of each particular award, with quotes and commentary by friends and family members who know/knew the person for whom an award was named.
Behind the awards
At the end of each term at Camp Alleghany we recognize campers (and counselors!) who have excelled in certain areas. It’s all part of the fun of closing out each term — and the whole summer — with a round of congratulations.
For example, after first term, at Babies’ Boats, we give out a few awards we call the Silver Bowl Awards; and then at the end of the summer, at Banquet, we give out second term Silver Bowl Awards and then even more honors (some of which go to first-termers, and will be mailed to them if they are not present to receive the award in person).
The Silver Bowl awards given each term are: Happiest, Friendliest, and Achievement in both Junior and Senior Camp.
Achievement may have to do with setting and meeting — or exceeding — a goal, or a special affinity for making an impression, a kind of natural service orientation that compels a camper to go above and beyond in their experience.
Then at Banquet we give out the Department Awards (excellence in each department), plus the S. Cooper Dawson, Jr. Award for Sportsmanship and Citizenship (one Junior and one Senior), the Hazel Mines Golden Hopper Award (one for each term), Junior Camp Spirit, and Senior Camp Spirit.
We give one counselor award: the Beth Anne Clark-Thomas Award for Outstanding Counselor.
Several of the awards are named after people who had an important contribution to camp life at Alleghany, and have since passed away. Naming an award after someone is one way we honor their memory at camp.
Two awards are named after people still living — our dearly treasured former cook Hazel Mines is alive, but her lovability — and long-time relationship to camp — compelled us to create the award when she retired; and Mini Camp Director Beth Anne is happily still with us, but we created that award just to recognize her extraordinary contributions over the years.
One of the things that seems most meaningful to me in giving out these awards is that, well, we’re not a camp that just gives an “award” to every participant at camp.
As Ghany Girls — with all that implies in our philosophy and honor code — we already expect a high degree of participation, dignity, friendliness, and decorum (plus a good dose of goofiness), from everyone.
But awards are honors, an expression of something extra, beyond the call of duty, and truly special. For honors to be meaningful, we intend to maintain our tradition of recognizing that something “extra” through the memory and meaning of each of our awards.
And there’s no rhyme or reason to who will end up with an award. By that I mean it could be your first term at camp or your 10th. You could have been unknown to anyone before you came here or the great friend of 20 other Ghany Girls. What matters is the “something extra,” that award winners show.
Telling the stories
What I want to do in this series is to attempt to give some background on each of these individuals*, in hopes that our camp community can “get to know” these people better and strengthen our historical memory. It seems a wonderful thing to do in light of their contributions and presence in our community, especially as we approach our 100-year anniversary in the coming years.
Here’s the full list of awards that I’ll be covering in various different blog posts:
- Rifle: The Keister Cup, named after Uncle Bill, or William Keister
- The Louise “Boomba” Pitt Memorial Award for Tennis
- The Ann “Rooney” Cargill Songbird Award for Alleghany Singers
- The Gail Bryson Cupps Memorial Award for Wild World
- Other department awards are not named after anyone at this time:(Arts & Crafts, Archery, Canoeing, Dance, Drama, Ropes, Sports & Fitness, Swimming)
Silver Bowl Awards
- The Mary Ball Blackwell Award for Friendliest Senior Camper
- The Lily Romando Award for Happiest Senior Camper
- The Cathi Hardester Award for Senior Achievement
- The Sally Jaye Aydlett Holt for Junior Achievement
- The Louise Daniel Kent for Happiest Junior Camper
- The Judith Greggie Smith Award for Friendliest Junior Camper
- The Hazel Mines Golden Hopper Award
- The Beth Anne Clark-Thomas Award for Outstanding Counselor Award
- The S. Cooper Dawson, Jr. Award for Sportsmanship and Citizenship (Junior and Senior)
- Junior Camp Spirit and Senior Camp Spirit (not named after anyone)
I hope you’ll stay tuned to this exciting series. We really hope to build up both camp history and camp spirit with the stories about these awards. We’ll be starting with the Achievement Awards, and we’re excited to share with everyone about the many people and their contributions to Alleghany who inspired these stories.
—Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls
* Editor’s Note: If anyone has nformation on the following people, please contact me via e-mail. I’d love to learn all I can about: Mary Ball Blackwell, Louise “Noodle” Daniel Kent, and Judith Greggie Smith.